“Small Spaces” by Katherine Arden
Ollie is dealing with the death of her mother when she finds a woman crying, trying to throw a book into the river. Ollie grabs the book and runs away. What she uncovers is a story about a creepy farm, a family and The Smiling Man who can offer you your ultimate wish, but only for something in return. When Ollie’s class takes a trip to their local farm with a strange history, she realizes the story might be true and it may exist in her town. If you love a good spooky story, this book is for you. Recommended for ages 9 to 13.
“Far Away” by Lisa Graff
CJ’s mother died when she was born, and now CJ travels around the country with her Aunt Nic, a medium between the spirit world and the human world. When her mother’s spirit tells CJ it is moving on to the far away and won’t be able to speak to CJ through Aunt Nic any more, CJ isn’t ready to let go. She begins a long road trip to visit places her mother had lived with the hope of finding the object that will tether her to her mother’s spirit. A heart wrenching and beautiful story about love, loss and finding your way back home. Recommended for ages 9 to 13.
— Sheila Grier, Deschutes Public Library community librarian
“Soaring Earth” by Margarita Engle
In this companion memoir to Engle’s “Enchanted Air,” the author’s teen and college years are combined into two worlds: Los Angeles and Cuba. As she enters high school, Engle dreams of traveling the world, but the political realities of war and strife are raw and she struggles to find her own place. As a bookworm and a dreamer, will her plans for independence and travel become reality or will she become overwhelmed? From her dreams in the poem “Time Travel” to love in “Not Like Romeo and Juliet,” Engle’s beautiful poems describe her hopes and struggles from the late 1960s to early 1970s. Readers will be captivated by her personal stories, connections with family and search for love.
“Serious Moonlight” by Jenn Bennett
Eighteen-year-old Birdie Lindberg is a mystery fiend. She enjoys mystery novels, movies and unsolved cases. She lives with her grandfather, who was a detective and shares her love of a good mystery. This summer, she’s discovering more of herself by exploring Seattle while working at the historic Cascadia hotel. Together with a young hotel van driver named Daniel, Birdie discovers a real-life mystery involving a famous, reclusive mystery writer who is at the hotel. Bennett’s latest book is an honest look at love, emotions and family, with a side of detective sleuthing. A wonderful summer read for older teens.
— Paige Bentley-Flannery, Deschutes Public Library community librarian
“Desert Redemption” by Betty Webb
The 10th and final Lena Jones mystery is satisfying as a stand-alone, but also provides a gratifying resolution to this Southwestern series. Lena is investigating the Kanati Spiritual Center for a man whose estranged wife has taken up residence there. As emaciated bodies are discovered in the desert, Lena suspects that the center may actually front a sinister cult. Her investigation ultimately leads back to her own defining tragedy: at the age of 4 she was shot in the head and abandoned on a Phoenix street. The author’s journalistic exploration of societal issues brings a thought-provoking dimension to these fast-moving, suspenseful novels.
“My Year of Rest and Relaxation” by Ottessa Moshfegh
A pretty young woman seeks to opt out of her privileged existence in the New York art scene in favor of sustained unconsciousness. She pursues this disaffected goal with the unwitting help of a credulous psychiatrist with a seemingly endless willingness to medicate her alienated patient. Supporting characters include a romantic interest whose arrogance and selfishness is cringe-inducing, and a loyal, though flawed, best friend. The unnamed narrator is thoroughly unlikeable, yet Moshfegh manages to make her bizarre quest darkly funny and sad, always compelling and profoundly disquieting.
— Julie Bowers, Deschutes Public Library community librarian